2018 Update: We still stand by this discussion of whether you can wear religious jewelry to work, but you may also want to check out our latest discussions on jewelry for the office.
Can you wear religious jewelry to work? Reader S wonders if it’s appropriate…
I was wondering what you and all of the other readers think about wearing religious jewelry to work. I’m not talking about a head covering, or skirts as required by a religion, but more along the line of wearing a Star of David or Crucifix to work. If its small, and simple is that OK, or do readers tend to shy away from that?
The easy answer is: of course you can wear religious jewelry if you’re working for a private company. (I’m not actually up on the laws regarding state workers or public school teachers or the like — there may be special rules for those jobs.) If your boss or coworkers have a problem with silent displays of religion, I suspect there are several people in your organization and community who will want to know about it. (Pictured at top: Shein. More expensive: Elsa Peretti Infinity Cross pendant, still available at Tiffany & Co (2018).)
The harder answer is: religion is a touchy subject, and ultimately I’m not sure what to say. (And I’ll be very curious to hear what readers have to say!) I have worn crosses from time to time, but tend to do so only when I’m actively praying (for a sick relative, or a friend suffering a loss, etc) — and sometimes I’ll wear it under a sweater because I want to keep my thoughts to myself. I think there’s a difference between wearing a piece of jewelry and actively trying to “recruit” people to your religion, and I would generally advise against the latter, at least at the office.
(Full disclosure here: I’m a cafeteria Catholic who rarely goes to Mass, and while I consider myself spiritual I don’t consider myself religious. I also live in NYC, where people don’t generally talk about religion.)
Readers, what are your thoughts? Can you wear religious jewelry to work — or should it be kept out of the office? (And if so — why?)